Violence in Chicago has become the number one go-to deflection tactic for the Trump administration looking to take attention away from the president’s borderline treasonous response to the coronavirus pandemic. As such, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been one of the many Black women the president has made a telling effort of attacking publicly.
Therefore, it followed that White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who has been blindly defending the president by spinning a neverending web of falsehoods, mistruths and flat-out, obvious lies, decided to lash out at both Chicago and Lightfoot during a media briefing on Thursday. But it was Lightfoot’s astute clap-back to McEnany, who is emerging as a “Karen” in her own right, that ended up making the headlines.
McEnany, who has her own job performance issues to deal with, had the audacity to call Lightfoot the “derelict mayor of Chicago,” said she should ask for federal help to fight gun violence and accused her of “doing a very poor job at protecting her streets.”
But Lightfoot was ready for all of McEnany’s smoke, and responded kindly with a terse five-word, two sentence imperative: “Hey Karen,” Lightfoot tweeted. “Watch your mouth.”
It was at once a masterful display in both giving detractors just the right amount of attention and peak 2020 at the same time, what with this unfortunate year’s proliferation of the term “Karen,” a reference to an entitled white woman exerting her privileges in situations that typically involve Black people being accused of something they didn’t do.
It can’t be forgotten how McEnany, before being appointed to her current position, not only was a hardcore and open Obama birther but also downplayed the threat of COVID-19 by saying uninformed things like, “We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here.”
That’s who was addressing the mayor of Chicago on Thursday.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, one of the main ways that Trump officials try to downplay the mounting death toll of Americans who have contracted COVID-19 is by disingenuously suggesting there is not the same level of outrage surrounding the deadly gun violence in Chicago. The deflection tactic is all but a racist trope that repeatedly points to so-called Black-on Black crime. However, not only has there long been an outcry over shootings in the Windy City, but, obviously conflating that violence with the deaths following complications from the coronavirus is a false equivalence.
That was the case last month when Trump sent a public letter to Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker and Lightfoot, both Democrats, blaming them for the violence and putting “your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens.”
Trump has faithfully attacked prominent Black women during his presidency.
In addition, by downplaying the severity of the coronavirus, Trump has undeniably contributed to Republican governors relaxing public health guidelines in states that have since had deadly resurgences of coronavirus cases and deaths, setting new records multiple times this month alone. We’re seeing that tragic truth play out in Georgia, Texas and especially Florida. Curiously, there has not been any public letters to those governors.
Meanwhile, the number of so-called Karen cases seemed to be multiplying by the day, with egregious examples that put Black lives at unnecessary risk like when Amy Cooper — the Central Park Karen — called the police and described an innocent bird-watcher as “an African American man threatening my life.”
This is America.